Adobe shocked the world when it announced that it would be terminating its development of Mobile Flash in order to focus its efforts on HTML5 solutions, like developer tools. While Adobe still remains very committed to Flash on the PC -- officially at least -- the move signals a shift at the top internet multimedia firm from a proprietary standard to a standard that is at least partially open (the degree of openness depends largely on the codecs for video and audio selected in the particular flavor of HTML5).
In the wake of that announcement, reports are coming in that Microsoft may be preparing to terminate development on its Silverlight rich multimedia platform to focus on its own HTML5 efforts.
For those unfamiliar, Silverlight is basically a would-be Flash. Launched in 2007, the platform grew to incorporate developer tools, plugins, and support for advanced features like streaming content. While the platform has seen modest success, it's never caught on to the extent of Flash.
Silverlight 5, the latest version of the platform, is due to land sometime this month. But it's unclear whether any browsers outside of Microsoft Internet Explorer -- still the most used browser in the world -- will be supported. And its equally unclear if Silverlight 6 will ever see the light of day.
While Microsoft initially pushed hard to incorporate the platform onto its diverse plethora of consumer electronics -- including the Zune HD, Windows Phone, and the Xbox 360 -- a report by Electronista cites sources as saying it has since scaled back the effort, reducing the size of the Silverlight team.
While Silverlight may indeed get the ax (Microsoft even acknowledges that HTML5 is "the future"), its legacy will live on in certain increasingly popular web technologies, like the XAML pseudo-standard.
Comments Andrew Brust, a Microsoft Regional Director and founder of Blue Badge Insights in an interview with ZDNet, "It's pretty clear to me that the principles of Silverlight, including the use of XAML as a markup language, C# and VB .NET as programming languages, a streamlined .NET CLR (Common Language Runtime) profile, packaged deployment over HTTP and a sandboxed security environment, are alive and well in the native XAML/.NET approach to developing Metro-style apps on Windows 8. It may not be not Silverlight to the letter, but it's Silverlight in spirit and natively supported by the operating system to boot."
In other words, if Silverlight is about to die, it will live on its legacy.